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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

All thanks and praise to Allah for his help, blessings and guidance. With Allah’s grace and help, I was able to finish this work. This journey has been much more than just completing a program of study. My highest achievement has been the opportunity to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds. I would like to express my profound gratitude for those who have helped me throughout this journey and especially at the dissertation stage. Many thanks for my supervisor Associate Professor Dr. Norani Mohd Salleh for her unfailing assistance, patience and dedication. I appreciate your support and advice throughout my graduate work. I am grateful to my dean of the faculty of education Professor Dr. Saedah Siraj, deputy dean Professor Dr. Moses Samuel and my head of department Dr. Zaharah Hussin for their support time. I would also like to thank the senior assistant registrar Puan Masitah Idris and the support staff of the Faculty of Education, especially Puan Sunita Abdul Aziz, Siti Zaleha Ahmad and Habibunisah Mohd Azir. Special thanks to Madam Alina Ranee for helping me to edit my thesis. To all of you, your feedback and your input has been of much value. Your encouragement and help will never be forgotten.

My deep appreciation goes to my family for their support. I would like to express my indebtedness for the participants who completed the surveys. I especially would like to thank all lecturers who answered my questionnaires at Islamic Azad University Zone 8 branches. Last but not least, I would like to thank all those who offered their suggestions, advice, and support, especially Dr. Sahar Dehyouri and Maryam Mahmoudi for helping me with the statistics. Thanks also to Miss Lam Woan Yi, for opening the view of my eyes about Malaysia. Together with Miss Khor Sai Ting she provided me with the safe and comfortable environment while staying in Malaysia. Their kindness will not be forgotten.

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i Synopsis

Ever-increasing growth of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) today affects all aspects of human life; leading to rapid change and transition. Undoubtedly, the world’s educational systems have been affected severely with the advancement of scientific, technical and technological domains. Higher Educational Institutions, in particular universities are becoming evidently pertinent in the realms of socio-economic, cultural and scientific advancement. Clearly, ICT has received global acceptance as one of the valuable educational necessities. In this regard, Iran as developing country faces many problems such as lack of cultural foundations for ICT adoption, lack of skilled human workforce, unfamiliarity with foreign languages, the lack of motivation and investigation spirits. In other words, there is evident lack of technological life skills which can be attributed to the inability of the traditional higher educational system in responding adequately to the fast changing needs in ICT. The main aim of this survey is to identify and determine the factors contributing to effective acceptance and use of ICT among faculty members of zone 8 branches of Islamic Azad University (IAU) in Tehran. Simple random sampling method was used in this research and a final total of 291 respondents comprising faculty members were selected. The survey questionnaire for this study consisted of 10 variables namely computer self-efficacy, computer competence, computer anxiety, management support, cultural perception, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, attitude towards using computer, behavioral intention to use and actual use. The researcher used a modified questionnaire from past literature and researchers’ questionnaire. The Cronbach alpha (α) value for reliability of all the items in the questionnaire is .87. The collected data were analyzed by the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS version 16) to obtain t-test and f-test for measuring agreement and significant co-relation between

variables respectively. A Linear Structural Relations (Lisrel) statistical tool was used in Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) which analyzed the most effective variables in using ICT. The final result of this survey shows a model of accessibility and usage of information technology in private universities in Iran. Findings show that faculty members give importance to the use of ICT. Nine (9) variables affect ICT use and four of which -- namely computer competence, computer self-efficacy, management support and perceived ease of use of computer were strong predictors of ICT usage. Hence more attention must be focused on these four components in order to enhance ICT use in universities. Appropriate steps to increase computer competence and computer self-efficacy among faculty members and students with regard to using modern information and communication technologies must be addressed. Management support in terms of providing accessibility to both hardware and software is essential; therefore managers play a significant role in universities in encouraging the use of information technology.

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ii

Faktor Yang Mempengaruhi Penggunaan ICT Dalam Kalangan

Ahli Fakulti Universiti Swasta Di Iran

Sinopsis

Perkembangan pesat dalam dunia ICT (Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi) masa kini mempengaruhi hampir semua aspek kehidupan, dan membawa kepada perubahan ketara dan pembaharuan. Tidak dapat disangkal lagi bahawa perkembangan dalam domain saintifik, teknikal dan teknologi mempengaruhi sistem pendidikan di dunia. Institusi pendidikan tinggi, terutama universiti semakin menonjol dalam bidang sosio-ekonomi, kebudayaan dan perkembangan saintifik. Amat jelas bahawa ICT diterima oleh seluruh dunia sebagai kemudahan pendidikan yang amat perlu. Dalam hal ini, sebagai negara membangun Iran berhadapan dengan pelbagai masalah seperti kekurangan asas budaya untuk penerimaan ICT, kekurangan sumber manusia terlatih, kekurangan kemahiran dalam penguasaan bahasa asing, dan kekurangan motivasi serta semangat penerokaan. Amat jelas bahawa Iran menghadapi kekurangan kemahiran ICT akibat ketidakupayaan sistem pendidikan tradisi untuk memberi respon kepada dunia ICT yang pesat membangun. Objektif utama kajian ini adalah untuk mengenal pasti faktor-faktor yang menyumbang kepada penerimaan penggunaan ICT secara efektif dalam kalangan ahli fakulti zone 8 Islamic Azad University (IAU) di Tehran. Kaedah pensampelan rawak digunakan dalam kajian ini yang melibatkan 291 peserta. Soal selidik kajian menyelidik 10 pemboleh-ubah iaitu efikasi kendiri dalam penggunaan komputer, kompetensi mengguna komputer, kerisauan mengguna komputer, sokongan pengurusan, persepsi budaya, persepsi

kepenggunaan, persepsi kesenangan mengguna, sikap terhadap mengguna komputer,

kehendak untuk mengguna dan penggunaan sebenar. Pengkaji menggunakan borang soal selidik yang diubah suai daripada sorotan kajian lepas dan soal selidik pengkaji-pengkaji lepas yang menjalankan kajian dalam bidang yang sama. Item-item soal selidik telah diuji kebolehpercayaan dan memperoleh nilai (α) alpha Cronbach .87. Data kajian dianalisis dengan menggunakan program ‘Statistical Package for the Social Sciences’ (SPSS versi

16) untuk memperoleh t-test dan f-test bagi mengukur persamaan dan hubungan signifikan

antara pemboleh ubah. Program Linear Structural Relations (Lisrel) digunakan untuk Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) bagi mengenal pasti variabel-variabel paling

berkesan dalam penggunaan ICT. Dapatan kajian menjanakan model aksesibiliti dan penggunaan teknologi informasi di universiti swasta di Iran. Dapatan menunjukkan ahli fakulti memberi keutamaan kepada penggunaan ICT. Sembilan (9) pemboleh ubah mempengaruhi penggunaan ICT, dan empat daripadanya kompetensi, efikasi kendiri, sokongan pengurusan and persepsi kesenangan penggunaan – merupakan peramal penting penggunaan ICT. Fokus perlu diberikan kepada komponen-komponen tersebut untuk menggalakkan penggunaan ICT di universiti. Langkah yang sesuai untuk mengembangkan kompetensi dan efikasi kendiri dalam kalangan ahli fakulti dan pelajar yang menggunakan ICT terkini perlu ditangani. Sokongan pengurusan dalam memberi akses kepada perisian dan hardware amat penting; oleh itu, pengurus memainkan peranan signifikan dalam menggalakkan penggunaan teknologi maklumat.

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iii

Table of Contents

Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

SYNOPSIS i

SINOPSIS

ii

TABLE

OF

CONTENTS

iii

LIST OF TABLES

ix

LIST

OF

FIGURES

xiii

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

U 1.1 Background of the Study 1

U 1.2 Problem Statement 13 U 1.3 Objectives of the Study 17 U 1.4 Research Questions 17 1.5 Significance of the study 8

U 1.6 Limitations of the Study 12

U 1.7 Scope of the Study 13

U 1.8 Conceptual & Operational Definitions 14 

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iv

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW

U

2.1 Introduction 22

U 2.2 Concepts and Definitions of ICT 22

U2.2.1 Information and Communications Technology 23

U2.2.2 Transition Process of ICT 25

U2.2.3 History of the Internet 26

U2.2.4 Internet in Iran 27

U 2.3 Higher Education and its Functions 28

U2.3.1 Necessity of ICT Usage in Higher Education 29

U2.3.2 ICT Development Programs in Iran’s Education 33

U2.3.3 Basic Policies and Orientations of IAU Research Along with Programs, Expectations and Conclusions 135 U2.3.4 Impact of ICT on Educational and Research Activities of the Universities 37

U 2.4 Psycho-Social Theories and Models of Innovation Acceptance 41

U2.4.1 Innovation Acceptance Theories 142 U 2.4.1.1 Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) 142 U 2.4.1.2 Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) 46

U 2.4.1.3 Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) 49

U 2.4.1.4 Decomposed Theory of Planned Behavior 51

U2.4.2 Innovation Acceptance Models 54

U 2.4.2.1 Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) Model 54

U 2.4.2.2 Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) 58

U 2.4.2.3 Technology Acceptance Model 2 64

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v

U

2.4.2.4 The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) 67

U

2.5 Conclusion 73

U

2.6 Effective Factors on ICT Usage in Educational Environments 75 U2.6.1 Effective individual-professional factors on ICT usage 75

U2.6.2 Psycho - Social Factors 85

U

2.7 Conclusion and Representation of the Conceptual Model 101 

CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

U

3.1 Introduction 103

U

3.2 Research Design 103

U

3.3 Statistical Population of the Research 107

U 3.4 Sampling 108 U 3.5 Sample Size 109 U 3.6 Research Variables 111 U 3.7 Research Hypotheses 113 U 3.8 Research Instrument 114 U 3.9 Pilot Study 116 U

3.10 Validity of the Instruments 116

U

3.11 Reliability of the Instruments 125

U 3.12 Data Collection 127 U 3.13 Data Analysis 128 U3.13.1 Data Screening 129 U

3.14 Structural Equation Modeling 130 U3.14.1 Evaluation of Overall Model Fit: Goodness-of-Fit Test 132

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vi U3.14.2 Measures of Overall Model Fit 132 

CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH RESULTS

U 4.1 Introduction 135 U 4.2 Results 136 U 4.2.1 Research Question 1: 2136 U 4.2.1.1 Age 2136 U 4.2.1.2 Gender 137 U 4.2.1.3 Education Level 137 U 4.2.1.4 Marital Status 138 U 4.2.1.5 Field of Study 138 U 4.2.1.6 Professional Rank 139 U

4.2.1.7 English Language Proficiency 139

U

4.2.1.8 Educational Group 140

U

4.2.1.9 Working Experience 141

U

4.2.1.10 Working Experience with ICTs 142

U 4.2.2 Research Question 2: 143 U 4.2.2.1 Computer Competence 143 U 4.2.2.2 Computer Self-efficacy 145 U 4.2.2.3 Computer Anxiety 148 U 4.2.2.4 Management Support 149 U

4.2.2.5 Attitude Toward Use of ICT 151

U

4.2.2.6 Perceived Usefulness 153

U

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vii

U

4.2.2.8 Perceived Ease of Use 156

U

4.2.2.9 Cultural Perception 2157

U

4.2.2.10 Actual Use of ICT 159

U

4.2.3 Research Question 3: 162

U

4.2.3.1 Test of differences between gender and psycho-social factors actual and use of ICT 162

U

4.2.3.2 Test of differences between education level and psycho-social factors and actual use of ICT 163

U

4.2.3.3 Test of differences between marital status and psycho-social factors and actual use of ICT 165

U

4.2.3.4 Comparative Analysis of faculty members with different field of study according to psycho-social and actual use of ICT 166 4.2.3.5 Test of differences between professional ranks and

psycho-social factors and actual ICT use 168

U

4.2.3.6 Relationship between age and psycho - social factors and actual ICT use 2171

U

4.2.3.7 Test of Relationship between working experience and psycho-social factors and actual use of ICT 172 4.2.3.8 Test of Relationship between English Language proficiency

Level and psycho-social factors and actual use of ICT 173 4.2.3.9 Test of Relationship computer competence and psycho-social factors and actual use of ICT 174

U

4.2.3.10 Test of Relationship between years of experience with ICT and psycho-social factors and actual use of ICT 174

U

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viii

U

4.2.5 Path Analysis 180

U 4.5.2.1 Prediction of effective variables on perceived ease of use 180

U 4.2.5.2 Prediction of effective variables on perceived usefulness 181

4.2.5.3 Prediction of effective variables on attitude toward ICT 182

U 4.2.5.4 Prediction of Behavioral Intention to Use ICT 183

U 4.2.5.5 Prediction of Actual Use of ICT 184

U 4.2.5.6 Prediction of Actual use of ICT through all variables of proposed Model 185

U 4.2.6 Analysis of Structural Equation Model (SEM) 186

U 4.2.7 Research Question 5: 187

U 4.2.7.1 Goodness of Fit 188

U 4.2.7.2 Structural model of effective factors’ model on ICT usage 190

CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

U 5.1 Summary 197

U 5.2 Discussion 198

5.3 Findings 202

U5.3.1 Relationship Between Proposed Model Variables 202

U5.3.2 Prediction of Actual Use of ICT Through Proposed Model Variables 203

U5.3.3 Comparative Analysis 204

U5.3.4 Structural Equations Model (SEM) 204

5.4 Discussion of Results 205

U5.4.1 Predictors of ICT Usage 205

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ix U5.4.3 Outcome of ICT Usage 209

U

5.5 Practical and Theoretical Achievements 210

U

5.6 Conclusion 211

U

5.7 Suggestions for Further Research 215 REFRENCES 216 APPENDIX 252

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x LIST OF TABLES

Table 2.1 Summary of Research on Technology Adoption 66 Table 2.2 Trends of Proposed Theories and Models in the

Field of Technology Acceptance

68 Table 2.3 Literature Reviewed for Technology Acceptance 69 Table 2.4 Summary of Computer Self-efficacy Studies 81 Table 2.5 Summary of Researches Related to Computer Anxiety

and Technology Acceptance

85 Table 3.1 The Frequency of Faculty Members in Different Zones 100 Table 3.2 Number of Faculty Members and Sample Size of

Each Branch 102

Table 3.3 Name of Variables and Number of Items 108 Table 3.4 Statistical Index Related to Content Validity of

the Questionnaire

111

Table 3.5 Kaiser- Meyer- Olkin (KMO) Test: 113

Table 3.6 Bartlett’s Test 114

Table 3.7 Studying Degree of Sphericity 115

Table 3.8 Communalities Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis

116

Table 3.9 Total Variance Explained 118

Table 3.10 Rotated Component Matrix 120

Table 3.11 Name and Number of Questionnaire Items with Cronbach Alpha

127

Table 3.12 Data Research Analysis 129

Table 4.1 Frequency Distribution of Respondents According to Age 130 Table 4.2 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Gender

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xi Table 4.3 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Education Level 131

Table 4.4 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Marital Status 131

Table 4.5 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Educational Field 132

Table 4.6 Frequency Distribution of Respondents According to Professional Rank

133 Table 4.7 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Proficiency English

134 Table 4.8 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Educational Group

135 Table 4.9 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Working Experience

136 Table 4.10 Frequency Distribution of Respondents

According to Working Experience With ICTs

137 Table 4.11 Frequency Distribution for Computer Competence 139 Table 4.12 Frequency Distribution for Computer Self-efficacy 141 Table 4.13 Frequency Distribution for Computer Anxiety 143 Table 4.14 Frequency Distribution for Management Support 145 Table 4.15 Frequency Distribution for Attitude Toward Use of ICT 147 Table 4.16 Frequency Distribution for Perceived Usefulness 149 Table 4.17 Frequency Distribution for Intention to Use 150 Table 4.18 Frequency Distribution for Perceived Ease of Use 151 Table 4.19 Frequency Distribution for Cultural Perception 153 Table 4.20 Frequency Distribution for Actual Use of ICT 154 Table 4.21 Mean, Standard Deviation and Coefficient of

Skewness and Kurtosis of Effective Factors

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xii Table 4.22 Differences between Gender and Psycho-social

Factors and Actual Use of ICT 157

Table 4.23 Differences Between Education Level and Psycho-social

Factors and Actual Use of ICT 158

Table 4.24 Differences Between Marital Status and Psycho-social

Factors and Actual Use of ICT 159

Table 4.25 Differences Between Field of Study and Psycho-social Factors and Actual Use of ICT

161

Table 4.26 Tamhane’s post hoc test 162

Table 4.27 Differences Between Professional Rank and Psycho-social

Factors and Actual Use of ICT 163

Table 4.28 Results of Kruskal-Wallis Test Between Professional Rank

and Psycho-social Factors 164

Table 4.29 Relationship Between Age and Proposed Model Variables 165 Table 4.30 Relationship Between Working Experience and

Psycho-social Factors and Actual Use of ICT

166 Table 4.31 Relationship Between Proficiency Level of English

Language and Psycho-social Factors and Actual Use of ICT

167

Table 4.32 Relationship Between Computer Competence and Proposed Model Variables

168 Table 4.33 Relationship Between Years of Experience with ICT and

Psycho-social Factors and Actual Use of ICT

169 Table 4.34 Correlation Matrix Between Psycho-social Variables with

Each Other and Actual Use of ICT

172 Table 4.35 Multiple Regression to Predict Perceived Ease of Use 173 Table 4.36 Multiple Regression Explaining Perceived Ease of Use 173 Table 4.37 Multiple Regression to Predict Perceived Usefulness 174 Table 4.38 Multiple Regression Coefficients Related to Perceived

Usefulness 174

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xiii Table 4.40 Multiple Regression Coefficients Related to Perceived

Usefulness 175

Table 4.41 Multiple Regression to Predict Behavioral Intention

Toward ICT 176

Table 4.42 Multiple Regression Coefficients Related to Behavioral Intention to Use ICT

176 Table 4.43 Multiple Regression to predict Actual use of ICT 177 Table 4.44 Actual Use of ICT and Intention to Use

Table 4.45 Amount of R, R2 and Effects of Independent Variable on

Actual Use of ICT

177 Table 4.46 Goodness Indices of the Research Model 182 Table 4.47 Causal Relations Among the Existent Independent and

Dependent Variables in Effective Factors’ Model on ICT Application

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xiv LIST OF FIGURES

U

Figure 2.1 Model of mutual relationship among behavior, environmental impacts

and personal factors according to Bandura 38

U

Figure 2.2 Theory of Reasoned Action (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) 47

U

Figure 2.3 Graphical view of Theory of Planned Behavior 250

U

Figure 2.4 Theory of Planned Behavior with beliefs decomposed 253

1

Figure 2.5 Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) 52

1

Figure 2.6 TAM2- Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model 66 Figure 2.7 UTAUT Research Model. Source: Venkatesh et al. (2003) 69

U

Figure 2.8 Proposed theoretical framework of research 102 

U

Figure 3.1 The proposed model 106

U

Figure 3.2 Research Method Model 106

U

Figure 3.3 Scree Plot 117

U

Figure 4.1 Structural equations model with path (Standardized) coefficients 2193

U

Figure 4.2 Structural equations model with amounts of t-value 195

U

Figure 5.1 Specific condition model of research 214

APPENDIX:

Questionnaire in English version

252

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1

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Ever-increasing growth of information and communications technology (ICT) today affects all aspects of human life; hence it has been exposed to change and transition. These changes have been considerable particularly in the social, cultural, economic, political, and educational fields as well as many other domains and have provided the ground for rapid and irreversible transitions across the world. Consequently, today, familiarity with computer and other related skills seem to be prerequisite for productivity and cost effectiveness in all aspects of life (Comber, Colley, Hargreaves, & Dorn, 1997). The world’s educational systems have been affected severely with the advancement of scientific, technical and technological domains and hence these have provided necessary grounds for comprehensive reforms and changes in the world’s educational system (Mahmoodi, Pezeshki-Rad, & Chizari, 2010). As such, over the last three decades ICT has been proposed as one of the most important sources and a significant element in the educational system; it has been applied at various educational levels especially higher education in countries in order to achieve developmental targets.

Presently, ICT, as one of the valuable solutions to the ever-increasing educational needs, has received global acceptance (Chao, 2001). According to Chang (2005), the ever-increasing popularity of ICT means that computers are being employed more at all educational levels.

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2 In the education industry, institutions have gradually adapted to the potential impact of ICT while applying it in classes to improve the learning process (Tan, 2007). Meanwhile, universities are considered as the most important developmental tools of each country and their key and effective roles are gradually becoming obvious in socio-economic, cultural and scientific realms (Akhundi, 2010). In fact, higher education of each country is the main route to development because literacy is one of the important social indexes for stable development. In other words, literacy not only enhances general education rather its increasing level affects the manner and amount of political, economic, cultural and educational participation of its people. Naisbitt (1984) also believes that an up-to-date knowledge is significant for many jobs and professions.

Currently, universities worldwide are trying to find out how to adapt with such changes so that they overcome the challenges arising from implementation of ICT (Karimi Alavije, Khalifeh, & Bakhtiar, 2007).

With due attention to the above-mentioned issues as well as considering the fact that technology use is no longer limited to computer experts, it is essential now for all students and faculty members to have first-hand knowledge of computer technology and apply it for success in their future jobs (Rizza, 2000). At the same time, educational authorities, simultaneously with such changes must support learners in their attempts to satisfy educational needs of the 21st century. Yang (2007) believes that the impact of technology on higher education, work environment and life underscore the importance of technology's acceptance and application process; success depends on acceptance and adaptation of modern technologies extensively and with higher speed.

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3 1.2 Problem Statement

Today, we are living in an age that is called the age of information and this is marked by rapid changes in the second half of the twentieth century in the field of science and technology leading to the formation of a modern society called information society (Morrow, Kelly, & Kirley, 2004). In the age of ICT, all human activities proceed towards electronic process based on the World Wide Web and the Internet. Consequently, new words like E-Commerce, E-Business, E-Training and E-Learning have attained prominence and entered into the vocabulary of all nations. Information and communications are modern age technology that has been resulted in reduced calculation time, accuracy in data processing, easy exchange of information and decreasing data costs (Jalaali, 2002).

Iran faces many problems in the field of ICT such as lack of cultural foundation for ICT adoption, lack of skilled human resource, unfamiliarity with foreign languages, lack of motivation and investigation spirits, lack of inclination to work, effort and operation and in one word, decreasing capability of life skill are the outcomes of inability of the traditional higher educational system in responding to the changing social needs. Our higher education is still book-oriented and students, despite their prominent capabilities and talents, are bound to pass lessons primarily by memorizing the subjects of some old books. Further, research and investigation as well as strengthening of searching spirit are at the lowest ebb in the educational system. Also, teaching is still teacher-and book-oriented and students have little roles in the learning process.

In this regard, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini challenged the nation to focus on ICT as a way forward into the future and stressed on the relevance of information and communications technology as a remarkable science that should be taken seriously (Khamenei, 2012):

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4 Considering to realities that are in front of our eyes, this accelerated

movement towards the peak of progress we wanted to achieve is not at all an illusion. It is a fact and our experiences over the past years show that professors and their students could be have vital role in new sciences and in sciences that play a significant role in our lives. This shows that we enjoy the necessary capacities. We need to take this issue seriously.

Researchers generally believe that ICT enhances individual and group productivity and total efficiency, stimulates creativity and provides opportunities for organizations to compete in an increasingly globalized world. Postgraduate and higher education, like other industries, perceive the impact of ICT for organizational growth and survival. "There are many organizations that spend a large portion of their budgets in the field of ICT with the aim to improve the general and partial performance of organization (Klaus, Gyires, & Wen, 2003).

Universities, as one of the scientific-research centers of the country, have researchers that through modern technologies perform investigations simultaneously with the tasks of teaching and learning and as components of the higher education system; they traverse the unknown borders of knowledge and through their services accelerate the rhythm of development and advancement of the country. Production of scientific information is considered to be the outcomes of academics’ performance that is represented in the form of information resources such as books, articles, reports, research plans and so forth (Mahmoodi, 2004). Thus, it can be concluded that ICT use in education as well as in the research process is an undeniable fact.

After the victory of the Islamic revolution in Iran, in 1979, due to ever-increasing demands for education but limited admission capacity in public universities, policymakers

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5 reinforced the idea of establishing Islamic Azad University (IAU) in order to train skilled, specialized, creative and informed human resources. This fundamental and principal movement was shaped with the direct support of Imam Khomeini; hence the emergence of this scientific and cultural institution was considered a valuable, unique and ideal opportunity for the growth of higher education and for putting into operation talented, able and competent youth of this country. The IAU started its activity with the aim of providing excellent educational opportunities and enhancing the culture level especially in deprived areas. With about 14 zones including 350 branches and centers inside and outside the country so far, this institution has played positive role in all educational, economic, cultural and social domains by training the human capital and identifying young talents. In other words, it has been recognized as the most successful educational model in the native environment (Akhundi, 2010).

However, Iran has lacked fruitful and effective exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) in the field of higher education due to different challenges and problems encountered by academics and researchers at universities and research centers especially Islamic Azad University largely because of lack of suitable financial support from the government.

Although, extensive activities have been performed in the field of IT and ICT in Iran over the past few years and plan of development on IT use (TAKFA)0

1 is a sample plan

of such actions which has defined the actual framework at national level by considering special role and task for each sector and simultaneously, different plans are being executed in the higher education sector and considerable resistance still remains at relatively high level against change at universities and educational institutions (Mahmoodi et al., 2010).

1 Development of use of IT= Toseeh Karborde Fannavari Ettelaat

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6 Since acceptance and use of the ICT by individuals is vital for the success of a system (Money & Turner, 2004) studying the nature and effective factors on use of the ICT has assumed much importance (Chau, 2001). Consequently, perceiving a factor that reinforces the efficiency of information systems’ application is still a significant issue for researchers and the people attached to this educational domain (Mun & Hwang, 2003) because merging of ICT in university classes require important transition that must be confirmed and accepted by the most significant factors and agents, namely students and faculty members (Jaffae, 1998).

The accomplished researches and studies in Iran show that despite the vital role information could play in the qualitative development of universities, an insignificant number of studies have been done in this field; hence more comprehensive works are needed to focus on different dimensions and viewpoints. So far, most of the surveys on ICT use in Iran have highlighted the role of ICT in employment or just the impact of the Internet on educational and research activities at student level. As such, effective factors in exploiting ICT at universities especially by faculty members as trainers of the specialized force as well as how these technologies have been used in education have not been touched upon. Faculty members are the principal elements of private and public universities who, through the acceptance and use of ICT, can help higher education develop considerably. Personal, social and psychical factors are effective in using ICT but no comprehensive research has yet been done in this regard. The current research is an attempt to bridge the gap in the existing literature by investigating which elements and factors are effective in facilitating ICT use by faculty members of the IAU at zone 8 branches of Tehran metropolis.

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7 1

.

3 Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this survey is to identify and determine the effective factors on acceptance and use of ICT between faculty members of zone 8 branches in Tehran from IAU.

Special Objectives:

In order to achieve the above-mentioned aims, the objectives of this study are to:

1. Describe personal and professional characteristics of the faculty members of IAU in zone 8 branches in Tehran.

2. Assess the effective psycho-social factors on use of ICT between faculty members of IAU in zone 8 branches in Tehran.

3. Determine the differences in the personal and professional characteristics of faculty members and their actual use of ICT.

4. Determine the relationships between effective factors on use of ICT by faculty members.

5. Develop a model to predict factors that affect ICT use among faculty members.

1.4 Research Questions

This study is aimed at answering the following research questions:

1. What are the effective personal and professional characteristics of faculty members in the proposed study?

2. What are the effective factors on use of ICT by faculty members in this survey? 3. What are the differences in the personal and professional characteristics of

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8 4. What are the relationships between effective factors on use of ICT and the use of

ICT by respondents?

5. Which conceptual model could be developed for use of ICT by faculty members of Islamic Azad University’s branches in Tehran, Iran?

1.5 Significance of the Study

It can be acknowledged that the most tangible advantage of the ICT revolution for developing countries is their access to great resources in education at minimum cost. The Internet is a powerful source for wider and faster access to educational subjects and supports continuous learning activities. It has become an important tool for representing educational resources both at primary and higher levels. In fact, the Internet has been transformed into a cheap, efficient and global mechanism for educational representation (Bakhshi-Khaniki, 2001). Acceptance and use of ICT by individuals of every society is important for the success of each system (Money & Turner, 2004).

ICT is an expression from which many interpretations have been developed. Complexity and mutual impact of these interpretations are often debated. As such, for creating the best relations, four types of purposes or rational reasons have been identified for ICT usage in education: (a) encouragement to acquire ICT skills as an objective for users, (b) use of ICT in order to strengthen learner capabilities in current educational programs, (c) use of ICT to strengthen learner capabilities as an essential element to reform lessons that changes not only the manner of learning but also the learnt contents, and (d) use of ICT as a necessary element of reformations that changes the university’s organizational structure.

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9 Today, various ICT applications facilitate the learning process (Wang, 2008). In addition, ICT can support international participation in educational and professional development. It offers a range of options –from video conferences to multimedia and websites– that could be used in adapting to challenges faced by professors (Kaazemi, 2002; Zamaani, 2001). Indeed, evidence shows that ICT possibly has the capability to provide effective and flexible methods for professional development of professors in this age

(Voogt & Pelrum, 2005).

Actually, development of human resources is considered as the principal axis of development. Previous policies and performances show that this issue has been neglected in spite of macro policy attention to the issue of human development especially from social elites, such that the human resource development index (HRDI) of Iran is moderate and recently the situation with regard to other countries has not only been unimproved but the Islamic Republic HRDI has degraded from rank 90 to 96. A prominent economist and Nobel laureate, Professor Gary Becker who coined the term human resources for the first time showed that about 70 percent of wealth or economy of a country lies in its people and skills, knowledge and talent of peoples are perceived as human capital of that country (Basic Education to Eliminate Poverty, p. 1)

Under certain conditions, ICT development brings positive outcomes for some individuals, institutions and social classes and leaves positive imprints on their individual and social life but at the same time a considerable portion of individuals at different levels will be deprived of such possibility. Today, this issue has been known as the digital divide of the developed and developing countries which can be decreased in Iran through prioritizing education especially the public education with the help of the government. The World Development Report (1990) states that valuable evidence showed that human capital development is one of the solutions to decrease poverty. Lack of improvement in education

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10 especially higher education of a country is the worst result of poverty (Basic Education to Eliminate Poverty, p. 1).

With respect to the above issues, one of the main advantages of ICT use in educational systems of the world is to increase the growth ratio and enable individuals to access an educational level that ultimately will lead to human resource development of that society. Other advantages of ICT use include: increasing communication channels through tools such as electronic mail, discussion groups, chat rooms, and high flexibility in enabling when and where professors and students perform their tasks (Shabaani, 2005), developing learning styles; creating and stimulating motivation through different resources for improving the learning and teaching process; facilitation of teaching programming and designing instructional materials; fast and easy access to information of learners and the university at any time and place; enhancing lesson quality through participation among professors and students in programming and preparing instructional materials; increasing and improving academic reports of learners to parents; enhancing parents’ knowledge with regard to learners’ capabilities and talents and also increasing awareness about the learning and teaching process (Soltaani, 2005).

Evidence reveals that students should learn how to think, decide and judge exactly about their affairs instead of accumulating scientific facts in mind. And professors need to consider that the thought process and creativity cannot be attained by commanding, preaching, encouraging or inducing to imitating and obeying others, because limiting the education process to transmission and imitating scientific facts will restrict the natural growth of thinking. By paying attention to modern scientific changes, challenges and approaches Annis, Lipman, and Paul believe that the first aim of education must be to train reflective, creative and critical human beings (Shabaani, 2005) and this will not be realized unless we provide for competition in the global education domain in the age of ICT.

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11 However, traditional educational methods will be no longer be responsive to students’ needs and present educational conditions; hence this issue must be taken into account by policy makers and investors of the higher educational domain.

As such, the university, as a main body of higher education and important resource for supplying a skilled and reflective human capital, has played a determinant role in stable development and growth in terms of economic, social and cultural aspects and it is often introduced as the major axis of development. Consequently, strengthening of universities and keeping them secured and efficient is considered as the main political aim for all countries.

After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran has witnessed a considerable quantitative growth in the higher education sector too. Increasing the number of students in various academic majors at different levels (Associates, B.A, M.A and Ph.D) and establishment of branches in most parts of the country by IAU led to the presence of higher number of eager youths at various levels; hence it created significant educational opportunity for girls and women to represent their capability and competency by entering the university.

However, in spite achieving one of the highest growth rates in Internet usage over the past decade with 43.2 percent of Iranians using the Internet in 2010, compared to just 42.8 percent in Russia and 31.6 percent in China (Stepanova, 2011), the international telecommunication union (ITU, 2011) cited that Iran has moved down considerably to rank 84 in the IDI 2008. Also, it is reported that internet use in higher education institutions is expected to rate around 7 percent till 2010 (Statistical Center of Iran, 2009). The dismal showing in ICT usage among faculty members whose vital role is pivotal for Iran’s progress into the future as outlined by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution

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12 Ayatollah Khomeini necessitate this study to examine the factors affecting the use of ICT among academics.

If we consider IAU as the biggest nongovernmental higher education center, undoubtedly, it has been able to deliver many educated persons to society over the past few years. Certainly Iran’s education sector especially IAU enjoys elevated position as a center of specialized and efficient human resources as well as a center for imparting technical, medical and educational expertise in order to facilitate multi-faceted development of the country. Identifying and studying of effective factors on use of ICT could help managers and authorities effectively develop ICT programs.

Therefore, given the expansion of the internet especially among scientific and university communities, it is necessary to enhance the effectiveness of this technology by studying factors on its acceptance and application especially among faculty members and provide its optimal application for quantitative and qualitative growth of higher education in IAU. In fact, since this survey identifies effective factors on use of ICT by faculty members in educational-research activities, it can represent strategies for more optimal application of such technologies in the country’s higher education domain.

1.6 Limitations of the Study

This survey has been performed to study the effective factors on ICT acceptance and usage by faculty members of IAU zone 8 branches of Tehran; hence it cannot be generalized to the whole higher education field. Despite such limitations, the survey findings are helpful in enhancing ICT use in the proposed branches of IAU as well as other branches of the same degree and with similar demographic conditions; hence it could provide good opportunities for other future research. Meanwhile, other difficulties encountered by the researcher are:

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13 Reluctance in completing the questionnaire by research samples due to lack of time and having problems to access faculty members in a short time.

1.7 Scope of the Study

In the global area, the last several years have seen a significant growth in ICT opportunities. A diverse number of academic communities have been part of this process. There are numerous experiences where ICT growth appears to be having an important impact on socio-psycho realities (Holly, 2002). The streak of success stories in developing countries such as Iran point towards the growing potential of ICT. But we must remember that development comes at a price. The social, psychological, legal, financial, educational and human resources aspects of each country must create conditions favorable for ICT (Mahmoodi et al., 2010).

Also, emphasis of planners and decision makers in Iran is to promote the use of ICT in the formal education sector today by adapting themselves with these changes (Yaghoobi, 2002).

On the other hand, Faculty members as key persons in improving and increasing quality of education, are heavily dependent on e-resources for their required information and to keep themselves up-to-date in their subject area. Indeed, Faculty members access more and more resources in their respective departments or from their personal desktop/laptop (Thanuskodi, 2011

)

.

This survey was accomplished during the academic year of 2009-2010. Also, this survey was conducted at the branches of IAU at zone 8 branches of Tehran that includes South of Tehran, Center of Tehran, North of Tehran, East of Tehran, West of Tehran, Tehran Medical, Islamshahr, Science and Research, and Pharmaceutical branches. This

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14 zone is the oldest, the most important and the biggest zone of IAU in terms of number of students, fields and academic levels, faculty members, educational and research possibilities, and geographical location.

1.8 Conceptual & Operational Definitions

This section outlines the definitions of terms as they are used in this study.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Any type of technology such as computer hardware and software, telecommunication tools and information networks that allow the possibility of transferring, processing, storage, organization, information retrieval and making relation with the aim of solving problems and decision-making (Abdullah, 2007), education and learning in an educational environment. In this study ICT includes hardware (such as printer, scanner, external memory, wireless modem, satellite, and webcam), computer and related software (such as office software, professional software, and databases), and Internet (such as email, home page, e-learning, e-teaching, and chatting).

Actual use of ICT: In this study it means the actual use of computer and the Internet by faculty members in order to perform educational and research functions including teaching, attending conferences and scientific gatherings and eliminating organizational problems. Items could be captured were: usage of Internet in receiving news, the Internet in order to get authentic papers from academic journals, the Internet to receive and save audio, graphic and visual files, external facilities of the computer in teaching, the Internet to get more information about educational activities, the Internet to become notified about the national and international conferences, the Internet to participate in on-line classes and 10 items like these. Respondents were asked to rate from 1 to 5 pertaining

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15 to the ICT by actual use of ICT to them. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Very Low’, ‘Low’, ‘Moderate’, ‘High’ and ‘Very High’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to response that are perceived as an agreement to them. Respondents were asked to rate from 1 to 5 pertaining to the ICT by computer competency to them.

Effective Factors on Use of ICT: In this study effective factors on the use of ICT means personal-professional factors (age, gender, marital status, educational degree, proficiency in English language, educational group, academic rank, work experience, working experience with ICT and computer competences) and psycho-social factors (computer self-efficacy, computer anxiety, computer attitude, intention to use, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, cultural perception, attitude toward ICT and management support).

Computer competencies: Wikianswers (2011) defines Computer Competency as being able to use a computer and perform the basic tasks needed to work with computing efficiently. Madden, Ellen, and Ajzen (1992) identified five domains of computer competencies for educators, including hardware skills, software skills, programming skills, integration skills, and general knowledge skills. Adams, Nelson, and Todd (1992) showed that presented competencies needed are in five areas: (a) attitudes and values, (b) computer capabilities and limitations, (c) computer anatomy and configuration, (d) computer careers and social implications, and (e) computer terms and concepts. To extract computer competencies items used offered several options such as use of email to communicate with others, the Internet to judge, computer to facilitate the administration affairs of the university, special software, the Internet in order to exchange data electronically, backup system in teaching, data banks and 23 items like these in the questionnaire. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Very High’, ‘High’, ‘Moderate’, Low’ and ‘Very Low’.

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16 These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to response that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Computer Self-efficacy: Compeau and Higgins (1995, p. 192) defined computer self-efficacy (CSE) as a “judgment of one’s capability to apply computer technology to specific tasks (e.g. send an electronic file to a friend or preparing an electronic presentation)”. Thatcher, Gundlach, McKnight, and Srite’s (2007) computer self-efficacy scale was used to assess respondents’ computer efficacy in this study. Computer self-efficacy had twenty items such as obtain good information through Internet in my own special field of study, type and print things easily and without the help of others, scan pictures and written documents and transfer it to the computer independently and without anybody’s help, easily search needed information in the Internet, solve my trivial software problems without help of others, solve my trivial hardware problems without help of others, easily install secondary accessories to my computer and use them and 13 items like them. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Totally agree’, ‘Almost agree’, ‘No opinion’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Totally disagree’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to response that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Management Support: Igbaria, Zinatelli, Cragg, and Cavaye (1997) defined management support as a series of activities to ensure sufficient allocation of resources and act as a change agent to create a more conducive environment for successful performance of staff. The Igbaria et al. (1997) Management Support Scale was used to assess management support in this study. Management support refers to the perceived level of general support offered by top management. This notion was captured from 18 items such as awareness of the advantages of using computers, encouragement of employee computer

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17 use, availability of required facilities and sources for using the computers in university, support advanced courses of teaching IT and the like. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Totally agree’, ‘Almost agree’, ‘No opinion’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Totally disagree’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to response that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Cultural Perception: Cultural perception based on Rogers’s (1995) idea, can be defined as “the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being consistent with the existing values, past experiences, and needs of potential adopters” (p. 15). In this study, cultural perception refers to the extent to which IAU faculty members perceive ICT use to be consistent with the cultural context of Iranian society and private universities. Zeinab’s (2006) Cultural Perception Scale was used to assess the culture of faculty members in this study. The Cultural Perception Scale consists of 25 statements. Some of these statements are: Using ICT in educational places to keep information up-to-date, priority of disadvantages of using the net for the students more than the advantages, unreliability of sources and information obtained from the net, computers as a great influence on education in people’s lives and so on. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Totally agree’, ‘Almost agree’, ‘No opinion’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Totally disagree’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to response that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Perceived Usefulness (PU): Davis, Bagozzi, and Warshaw (1989) defined PU as “the prospective user’s subjective probability that using a specific application system will increase his or her job performance within an organizational context”. In this study, we define PU as the degree to which individuals believe that use of ICT services will improve their communicational, educational and research performance. Park’s (2004) perceived

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18 usefulness scale was used to assess the perceived usefulness of technology in this study. This item was based on Venkatesh (2000) and Venkatesh and Davis (2000). The perceived usefulness scale consists of 22 statements such as Computers can do whatever we want, Use of ICT can increase communication with other research institutions, get useful information from the Internet, faculty could be more successful in educational practices, gathering information and sources from the Internet is cost-effective, develop research practices of the students using ICT, analyzing data more precisely, reducing time of doing things and so on. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Totally agree’, ‘Almost agree’, ‘No opinion’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Totally disagree’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to response that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Perceived Ease of Use: Davis (1989) defined this as the degree to which a person believes that using a particular system would be free from effort. The perceived ease of use scale (Park, 2004) was used to assess the perceived usefulness of ICT in this study. This questionnaire was based on Davis (1989) and Davis et al. (1989). This notion was realized from 10 statements such as: connect to the net whenever I wish, software are easily accessed, computer training classes are easy, use educational sites on the Internet easily and similar items. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Totally agree’, ‘Almost agree’, ‘No opinion’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Totally disagree’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to responses that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Behavioral Intention to use (BI): Behavioral Intention to use ICT is a measure of the likelihood that a person will adopt the application, whereas the technology acceptance model uses actual usage to represent a self-report measure of time or frequency of adopting

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19 the application (Davis et al., 1989). In this study, we defined BI as the degree to which an individual intends to use ICT services. Malhotra and Galletta’s (1999) behavioral intention scale was used to assess the measure of the strength of one’s intention to perform a specified behavior (e.g., Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975, p. 288). The behavioral intention to use scale consists of 10 statements such as I like to do all my educational duties with computer, prefer to use the Internet to get access to new educational sources, like to type my class notes, very eager to use new software, use computer to see films and visual files and like them. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Totally agree’, ‘Almost agree’, ‘No opinion’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Totally disagree’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to responses that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Computer Anxiety: Computer anxiety has received considerable attention in the psychologically-based literature and is defined as generalized emotional distress or the tendency of an individual to be uneasy, apprehensive and/or phobic towards current or future use of computers (Igbaria & Iivari, 1998). Computer anxiety may include worries about embarrassment, looking foolish or even damaging computer equipment. In this study the computer anxiety scale consisted of 20 statements such as fear of losing their information, in dealing with something new about the computer, worrying that someone else comes and uses their information after working with the computer, getting headache and nausea after using the computer for several hours, being blamed by others after using the computer for several hours and 15 items similar to them. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Very High’, ‘High’, ‘Moderate’, Low’ and ‘Very Low’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to response that are perceived as an agreement to them.

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20 Attitude toward ICT: Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) have offered a general definition of attitude as: “a learnt background that is used to respond to an issue in a favorable or unfavorable form” (p. 15).

According to Fishbein and Ajzen, attitudes are feelings of individuals and evaluations that they do about a thing, person, issue or event. In this research attitude towards computer includes any satisfaction or dissatisfaction, belief or disbelief, credence or non-credence, interest or disinterest of faculty members towards applying technologies related to computer in their life and in educational and research programs. Albirini’s (2004b) attitude scale was used to assess the attitude toward using information technology in this study. This scale consisted of 28 statements such as afraid of using the computer, don’t like using the computer, looking for a chance to use computer, don’t like using the computer for teaching, using the computer saves time and energy, using computer should increase students’ motivation for studying, computers are quick and useful systems in getting information, trying to get more information about computer, using the computer is the reason for students’ weakness in their lessons and so on. Five Likert-type response categories were used: ‘Totally agree’, ‘Almost agree’, ‘No opinion’, ‘Disagree’ and ‘Totally disagree’. These categories were assigned values from 1 to 5 in the direction that gives the highest value to responses that are perceived as an agreement to them.

Private university: Private university means Islamic Azad University of Iran that is the oldest, biggest and most important non-governmental institution in terms of number of students, majors and academic levels, faculty members and educational and research possibilities that is dependent on private resources such as students’ fees. It has a brilliant report card in educational and research activities during its more than twenty five (25) year history with over 350 branches (units) and centers in the framework of fourteen zones of

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21 the university inside and outside Iran. This survey takes into account branches of IAU in the zone 8 branches of Tehran.

Faculty members: in this study faculty members included all full-time academics with the scientific ranks of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and full professor.

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22 CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

Given the pre-determined aims this chapter has been organized into two segments. The first segment discusses the study’s principal concepts in three following parts and with due attention to research variables. Concepts and definitions of ICT are proposed in the first part. The second part refers to higher education, its functions, necessity of using ICT in higher education and policies of IAU in Iran with regard to ICT application. The third part reviews works on issues stating the impact of ICT on enhancing education and research activities in universities.

The second segment includes two parts; psycho-social theories and models of ICT usage in the literature are studied and reviewed in the first part. In the second part effective factors on ICT usage are studied and at last the conceptual model of research is represented based on the proposed factors. Results of accomplished researches in Iran and in the world are stated after discussion of the related factors.

2.2 Concepts and Definitions of ICT

Ever-increasing development of ICT in the world and dependence of other industries and activities on this industry, today, have led to automatic inclination of most countries towards this industry. As a result percentage of those who are connected to such industries is increased day to day (Crumpacker, 2003). Business approach and daily activities, the manner of communicating with others, access to information and generally all aspects of

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23 human life have been involved in a great change by ever-increasing growth of these technologies (Shabaani, 2005). Knowledge learning and acquisition has not been excluded in this regard. Although human beings have used technologies and tools for their education and learning traditionally, perhaps education and learning has never been faced with tremendous transitions arising from applying ICT such as the Internet, computer, compact disc, multi-media systems and so on until now (AICTC, 2004).

2.2.1 Information and Communications Technology

Development of communicative networks and importance of information in social life has become the source of modern transitions in human life (Fathian & Norouzi, 2005). The information explosion phenomenon and emergence of information revolution give rise to the present age as the “age of information”. Ever-increasing development of ICT is one of the most basic reasons for emerging and extending of such phenomenon. Today, all scopes of human life are affected by ICT and the range and depth of this impact will be increased in the future too (Rahmani, 2002). Given the variety of ICT use at different times and places, various definitions have been represented about the above technologies.

Technology has a wide concept in terms of application that includes fabrication, production techniques and using of software, hardware and data processing (i.e., operations like calculation, control, evaluation, filtration etc.).

Information is experience, data, knowledge, proved hypotheses and scientific results of researches (Sharifian, 2002). According to the above definition, the term ICT is used for those groups of electronic tools and technologies that assist human beings in recording, saving, processing, retrieving, transferring and receiving of information. This term contains technologies dependent on electromagnetic waves like the computer, transmission through fax, Internet, micrographs, satellites and telecommunication systems as well as older

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24 technologies such as archive systems, calculation-mechanical machines, printing and engraving (Curtain, 2003).

According to adopted issues from the National Network of Iran’s Schools (2011), communications are organized processes for information exchange among the sections that are usually performed through a range of signs. Communications process allows human beings to share experiences and knowledge. Common forms of human communications are: sign language, conversation, writing, symbol and radio broadcasting. Communications could be in one of the forms of mutual, one-sided, intentional and unintentional as well as verbal or non-verbal form. Moreover, they could be personal and interpersonal (National Network of Iran’s Schools, 2011).

Iranian Informatics Higher Council Office represented the following definition for the term ICT in 1990: “ICT are applied to an integrated set of methods, hardware, software and communicative equipment that collect, save, retrieve, process, and transfer or demonstrate information in different forms (sound, image and text)”.

ICTs are a set of hardware, software, telecommunications, human skills, services and supporting substructures of information management and information transmission that includes all research, educational, financial as well as other organizations (Holly, 2002). These technologies contain computer, Internet and technologies of program broadcasting such as radio, television and telephone. ICT tools are a combination of various human and machine factors where the computer is its most basic machine factor and computer user is its most basic human factor. Of course it should be considered that its machine factors are not just limited to computer, rather communications satellites constitute one part of machine factors too (Soltaani, 2005). But in the definition of ICT we can say that it is collecting, organizing, saving and disseminating of information such as sound, image, text or number that is performed by means of computer and telecommunications tools.

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25 Given the proposed issues, ICT not only is limited to hardware, rather the manner of using of them including the ability to design, research, organize and manage are its elements in addition to hardware and the necessary knowledge (Sepehri, 2002).

2.2.2 Transition Process of ICT

In order to study ICT transition it is necessary to pay attention to the growth path of civilizations, since the kind of communications and tools of making relation are changed with changes in civilization. Growth path of human civilization has traversed three periods from the beginning until now in which ICTs have been proposed in a special form:

1. Agriculture age: it had gradually been developed during several thousand years and messages were mainly transferred through writing in this age (Soltaani, 2005).

2. Industrial age: printing, radio, film, cinema and telephone were tools of transferring messages in this periodin addition to writing. In fact, this period (18th century) is the turning point of information documentation (Movahed Mohammadi, 2003).

3. Information age: Elvin Toffler calls it the “third wave”. The applied technologies in the two previous periods were one-sided and this was their main deficiency but kind of communications were exposed to great transitions with regard to the two previous periods by the emerging and advancing of computer technology and access to the World Wide Web in the late 20th century (Jalaali, 2002). This age began from 1980 and by emergence of personal computers in the human life scope and is going to change the world with unbelievable speed, so that developing of this age along with the existing advanced technologies brings the fourth change wave in the world.

ICT in modern form has been considered since 1980. In this point in time many countries such as England, France, Switzerland, Canada, United States and Japan

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26 concluded that ICT use could be a very important factor in their economic growth and development. Today, ICT has the fastest growth in comparison with other industries. The volume of investment in information technology industry in the world reached 3000 billion dollars in 2003 from 2200 billion dollars in 1999. Most part of such development occurred in the developed countries. The number of Internet users is accelerating and it has reached 1.3 billion persons in 2005 from 400 million persons in 2000 (Abedi & Okhovat, 2002). Among the ICT, Internet is the most important and effective tool in the formation and facilitation of transitions in the present age.

2.2.3 History of the Internet

Two researchers called Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn invented the idea of creating the Internet in 1973 and defined it as a means for carrying information packets between two computers (Kusha, 2002). In 1975 the Internet was designed on paper and the American National Sciences Institute established USENET in order to represent network communications for more research centers and develop the international network in 1986 (Sooknanan, 2002). The number of subscribers of the Internet network in 1987 was ten thousand and it reached one hundred thousand in 1989. Internet continued its growth such that the number of existing computers in the network doubled annually during the 1990s. By commercialization of Internet in 1997, its services increased highly and its access costs were decreased (Akubue, 2003).

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27 2.2.4 Internet in Iran

The Institute for Studies in Theoretical Physics and Mathematics (IPM) started its work in 1980 in order to establish and control research projects in mathematics and physics sciences and contact among universities in Iran and international institutes. In 1993 just a few universities in Iran such as Sharif Industrial University were connected to the Internet by this center to establish relations with the outside world (Eshraghi, 2006). IPM joined the computer network and as a result was connected to the Internet through the “Europe Academician Researches Network” and by cooperation with Vienna University in Austria in 1993. Iran’s Assembly approved establishment of “Data communications affairs” company under the supervision of Iran Telecommunications Company in 1995 and this company became responsible for developing data services in Iran (Movahed Mohammadi, 2003). Iran became a member of the Unicode Consortium formally on 17.3.2001 and in 2002 weblog writing phenomenon was started for the first time in this country. The first weblog writing service for Persian people began its work in Iran in 2003 (Soltaani, 2005). The number of Internet users in the world has been reported as 900 million persons according to the published report by Internetworldstates website in February 2005 and Iran has the first rank in the Middle East with 32 million users according to the report of Ministry of ICT of Iran website (Soltaani, 2005).

However, Iran ranks 87th among the countries in the world in terms of applying ICTs based on recent research of the United Nations (Mahmoodi et al., 2010).

Digital access index is one of the global indices of development in the field of ICT. Influence coefficient of Internet in Iran is 43% while it is equal to 24.86% in United Arab Emirates among Arabian countries and has the highest influence coefficient of Internet in the Arab countries and the Middle East at present (Click Monthly Magazine, 2005).

References

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